The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Flashback Friday!

Well, well, well. Here we are at the weekend again. It took it's sweet time this week, didn't it, boys and girls? Anybody up for a little Flashback?

This weeks' funny is brought to you by the folks at Ford Motor Company (well, I guess that will be in the search engines now, huh?), and it's about my first car. The car was a blue 1968 Ford LTD, but it came to me in the fall of 1982 and was (always) missing it's front bumper, though it had an original 8-track tape player in it. (Remember those? Probably not you, Your Girl Friday...;) It looked MOSTLY like the pic to the left, there. I want to say I paid $300 for it, but I honestly can't remember.

I drove that car until I couldn't drive it anymore. I guess everybody does when they're a teenager with their first car, huh? This particular tale, however, is from the fall of 1984.

I have to do a little back story here and say that my first true love was a boy I met in college and fell deeply in love with. Let's keep him anonymous and call him Rob Andrews. Rob was a very handsome boy, who was a big flirt and yet, such a gentleman. He was a poli-sci major and was three years older than me. We had a very brief, very torrid romance, but decided that we made better friends than we did lovers. I'm leaving out lots and lots of stuff, but let's just say that we stayed very close and we were pretty much best friends for the years we spent in college, even though both of us were dating other people.

Had I been more foolish, he could have been my first ex-husband. But, he didn't realize he wanted that from me, until he'd moved away (and joined the navy) and we weren't spending time together anymore. Then he realized that he really WAS in love with me after all and wanted me to fly to Spain to be with him. I was pretty sure he was just lonely (so I didn't go), but it was a wonderfully flattering feeling at the time. We kept in touch for a long time thereafter. Whenever he was in town, he'd call me and we'd get together.

And, so, when I started dating my (now) ex, and Rob called to say he was in town, I told him I had someone I wanted him to meet. I'd only been dating M for about three months, but we were getting pretty serious.

When he pulled up in front of M's house, I went out to meet him and he smiled nostalgically to see that I was still driving that old car. In fact, he was standing by it when I got to him.

"Hi, you." I said to him.

"Missed you, kiddo."

"What are you looking for?"

"Do you smell gas? 'Cause I definitely smell gas."

Now, Rob was a sweet guy and very smart, but mechanically-inclined, he never was. Never.

"I don't know. I don't think so. Come in the house, I want you to meet M."

"Pop the hood for me. I think it's your car."

Like Rob would know what anything under the hood was anyway. So, I humored him and popped the hood. He looks around a little, moving hoses and acting like he knows what the hell he's doing. Finally he looks up at me and says,

"Your carburetor is leaking gas onto your manifold."

"Uh huh."

"I mean it, Tammy. You need to get something done about it."

"Uh huh."

"I'm serious, Goofy. That manifold gets hot when you drive and gas leaking on it could be pretty dangerous."

"Uh huh. Let's go meet M!"

So, he sighed an exasperated sigh and walked with me into the house and visited with us for a couple hours. When he got ready to leave, he asked me to walk with him out to his car. I haven't ever forgotten our conversation. Certainly, I should have gotten my head out of the clouds long enough to have actually listened to someone who cared so much about my well-being (he may appear in another Flashback Friday about how he rescued me), but, you know the whole deal about hindsight.

"You know, Tammy, I love you, but that boy's not good enough for you."

"You're jealous."

"Maybe. But, you deserve better than that. He doesn't love you the way you deserve to be loved."

"You only spent two hours with him."

"I'm just telling you what I think. He's not the right one and I hate to see you falling for him, 'cause I know you and I know you'll be hurt settling for him."

And he sighed as I looked at him with those glazed (and defiant) eyes. And then he said,

"Come with me to my car." And I walked to his car with him. He opened the trunk and got out a fire extinguisher and handed it to me.

"I know you're not going to do a damned thing about that gas leak, so put this in your trunk. You're going to need it."

"Uh huh."

"I'm serious. Take the damned fire extinguisher."

"Okay. Okay. I'll put it in my trunk." And I did. And he left. And I saw him (or talked to him) several more times after that (including the phone call from Spain), but haven't seen him (or talked to him) in close to twenty years now.

Now fast-forward about four days from that incident.

M and I had been out riding around town in my car and we drove back to his place for a little hanky panky. (Hey, I was young and single and it's totally allowed.) And, you know, Rob might be sweet and smart, but he totally doesn't know anything about the stuff going on in my life. So, M & I were there for about 15 minutes when M's roommate comes beating on his door and says,

"Hey, M, your girlfriend's car is on fire, Man."

So, we're scrambling around, getting dressed, and we run to the car, and, there's smoke coming out of the hood. M carefully pulls the latch and, true enough, there are little orange flamey things under the hood. Not a lot, but, yeah, some. And, of course, I can just SEE Rob saying "I told you so.", but I kind of meekly say,

"There's a fire extinguisher in my trunk."

M gives me this puzzled look, like "why the hell do you have a fire extinguisher in your trunk?" And I tell him the whole story about the gas and the manifold, blah, blah, blah. So, he gets the fire extinguisher and gives the engine a little spray.

So, we're standing out there now. Looking at the engine. And he says,

"Get in the car and start it up."

And I say, "Are you serious? The thing was just on FIRE. I am NOT getting into it and starting it up. What if it blows up?"

"It's not going to blow up. I've looked at it. It looks okay. It should start right up. And besides, I've got the fire extinguisher and I'm right here."

I'm not even CLOSE to being a daredevil. Okay, maybe there's the tiniest streak of that somewhere in my DNA, but it's buried pretty deep. So, I was pretty scared. But he sounded like he was confident, and it really didn't make sense for him to start it up, because I wouldn't know what to look for under the hood when he did. And I SURE didn't want to be the one fighting the flames if need be.

So, I swallowed hard and eased in behind the steering wheel. My hand was trembling as I put the key in the ignition and just as I was getting ready to turn the key, I looked up to see where M was. And do you know where he was? That fucker was slowly backing up the hill away from the car. I rolled the window down and hollered,

"Hey, where are you going?"

"It's okay. Just start the car."

"Uh huh. Sure. Why are you backing away from it, if it's okay?"

"Just start the car."

"I don't wanna start the car. It's gonna blow up, isn't it?"

So, this goes on for a couple minutes and, finally, I give in and start the car. And it doesn't blow up. And I'm kinda shocked, but definitely pleasantly surprised, about it. M gives the engine a cursory glance and we decide to drive it back to my house together (in case something happens).

On the way, it started losing power. The fire had burned through some alternator wires and caused some electrical problems. It never caught fire again, though. The story really peters out there. Sorry.

The thing about it for me, however, was always that Rob tried to prevent the fire (and more) and I totally ignored him, and, of course, the visual I will continue to hold of M backing up that hill and telling me to go ahead and start the car.



Blogger Julia said...

Did you ever call Rob and tell him?

4/28/2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

That the car caught fire? Yep. And he had the big "I told you so" warmed up for me, and threw in a little "I knew it and you wouldn't listen to me" for dessert.

About being right about the man? Nope. Rob's wife had issues with me. And so, when things starting getting serious with her (before they got married), I sent him a long letter (he was living in Virginia at the time) and told him that I'd be around if he needed me, but that I didn't want to cause him any problems in his relationship and wished him happiness and told him I'd appreciated everything he'd done for me. It was a difficult thing to do, but he'd have never shut me out otherwise and it could have cost him a relationship he really valued. I miss him sometimes, but that's part of the past. I'm sure he's saved one more "I told you so" for me, though. If I run into him, I'm sure he'll have it right in his pocket...;)

4/28/2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger Highlander said...

'Allo, poppet!

I'm up. Watching that horrible movie you told me I should watch without you. It's pretty mindless, but, you know, a great deal of fun to look at.

As to Flashback Friday, well... I like a man who knows how to say "I told you so".

I love you!

4/28/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

This sort of reminds me of that cartoon where a man and a woman are riding in a car and he's driving and there are word balloons all around her head generally whipping her up into a frenzy because he's been so quiet and thoughtful-looking and she's wondering what he's thinking, if he really loves her, etc. etc. etc. And there's one over his head: "What's that noise coming from the engine?"

I've been fortunate enough not to involve myself with guys who think they can fix cars. My one "Tool Time" experience with Husband was when he thought he'd flex some testosterone and change my oil. He had those little orange ramps in his mother's garage, the ones you drive the car up on. He took the wheel, drove up the ramps..and right over the top of them. I've never let him near the workings of any of my cars ever again.

4/28/2006 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great and sad story.

I love flasback Fridays!!

4/28/2006 2:51 PM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Ooh, I just remembered the 8-tracks. When we were dating, Husband had this honking old Oldsmobile (it truly WAS his father's Oldsmobile) and it not only had Navaho patterned upholstery (designed to match the dog), it had an 8-track player. Took me YEARS to get him to throw them out YEARS after the car died. Ah, for all I know he took them back out of the trash and stowed them away somewhere.

4/28/2006 5:31 PM  
Anonymous jeorg said...

i always believe men when they something about my car. of course, my first question is: "will it blow up if i drive it?" there is no way i would have started the car.

4/28/2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Carmichael said...

funny story...i could tell a bunch of them on my ex involving his old mustang...that was when i learned to pop a clutch! maybe i should start a "flashback friday"...all the stories i have about my ex should take up the first year or so...ha, ha!
have a great weekend.

4/28/2006 6:38 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

H -

You just like to say "I told you so."

And I'm glad you got that movie out of the way before I got home today...;) Love you, too!!

Opus -

When I first started driving (and it was always clunkers for years and years), I SWORE that I'd find me a mechanic for a boyfriend. I never really did. My ex was about as close as any, I suppose. But I still hate to spend money on car repairs. I always hate the feeling that I'm being overcharged.

Oh, and I think my 8-tracks are STILL in my ex's basement, so I can totally commiserate on the thing with your hubby. Only, I'm him, I guess. And no need to look for big paperbags in the basement, Opus. None at all.

Marci -

Missed you all week, but I always know you'll swing by on Friday. Hope your week has been a good one and I'm waiting for some news on Bev's dad...;)

Jeorg -

I NEVER believed Rob when it came to car stuff. He was wise on a number of topics, but car repair was NEVER one of them. By the point that this incident happened, I'd known him four years and I'd never once known him to have anything helpful to include on car repairs.

And, yeah, sometimes, I still can't believe that I started the car that day either!

Carmichael -

Yeah, Flashback Fridays! (TM pending) came out of me having an old story to share and then more and more of them kept coming to the surface. Not sure how long I'll keep it up, but I've still got quite a few more brewing in me noggin'. Glad you enjoyed it!

4/28/2006 6:54 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

I beat out the orange pool of flame front, low and center on the engine block with an old shirt I grabbed from the trunk. That was the last time that car moved under its own power. It was a Ford Escort, though, and so was a fitting end.

Points for at least not linking the engine combustion to the flames of your hanky passion, though. ;)

Man... most of the time, when I'm thinking about them at all (generally I just use them to get here and there, and otherwise ignore them), cars are a pain in the ass.

4/29/2006 12:13 AM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

Hindsight is a wonderfully painful thing sometimes. As long as we learn from it, right? :)

My first car was a '66 Chevy Truck. After two sisters already had it, wrecked it numerous times, and it was holding on by a thread, THEN it became mine. It was a fun truck to mess with! :)

have a great weekend. FH

4/29/2006 12:00 PM  
Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

Great post... and you are right, a bit young to remember - considering I wasn't born until 83! :)

4/30/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

OMG!! You're just a baby!


Does that mean I'm NOT the youngest person trolling this blog any more?

5/03/2006 11:49 PM  

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